Smith’s Brentford feed on ‘hunger’ in rout of struggling Birmingham

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Brentford head coach Dean Smith hailed the 'hunger' running through his team as the recipe for their 5-0 rout of strugglers Birmingham.

Two Ollie Watkins goals, one each from Florian Jozefzoon and Neal Maupay and a Marc Roberts own goal saw the Bees romp to an emphatic win in a scoreline that flattered Birmingham.

‘Every time we lose the ball we want to win it back. We’ve worked hard on that and our counter play. Added to that we’re also making the right decisions at the right times,’ he said.

‘There is a hunger among the players. I said to them before the game that if you have desire and character, it lifts you above and gives you a little bit extra and we showed that tonight. We started at a high tempo and didn’t really let up. We were aggressive and worked very hard.’

It was especially sweet for Villa fan Smith, who added: ‘I’m delighted, but you can only get three points from each game so now we’ll go onto the next one at Leeds and try to do the same.

‘We have confidence, belief and a lot of young, hungry players. Birmingham have had a good run of form and were looking to hit the ground running here, but we didn’t let them. They had a couple of players missing but we still had to go and beat them.’

Smith also heaped praise on French striker, a target for criticism from a section of Brentford fans a fortnight ago.

‘I’m delighted for him and the ovation he got as he went off,’ he said. ‘I asked the supporters to get behind him and they did and now they’re seeing what a good player he is.’

Despondent Blues boss Steve Cotterill blamed individual errors for the Griffin Park thrashing.

‘The game was littered with mistakes,’ he said. ‘You can’t afford to make poor mistakes in the Championship against a good team. Brentford are good without gifting them goals like we did tonight.

‘When you look at the goals given away, four were errors. It’s bad enough to have one in a game but to have so many is hard to do something about. There’s not enough belief in the squad there’s going to be a lack of belief when you don’t win on a regular basis.’

But he jumped to the defence of keeper David Stockdale, at fault for at least two of the Bees goals.

‘It’s difficult on him tonight because he’s made some good saves this season,’ he said. ‘There’s not a lot I can do or say that will make him feel better about his performance tonight.’

The Blues chief said hard work will be the only way out of the relegation mire for his side.

‘Every mistake we make at the moment seems to be a big and painful one, but there’s not much more we can do than carry on working hard – there’s no other way out of it,’ he said.

‘Nothing will pacify anybody at moment because we’ve just been beaten heavily. Now is time for strong minds and our mentality has to be tough to see this out.’

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